This is a three-part series about the taboo side of bullying, which has not been given much publicity. Follow me on a journey that is sure to leave you with disgust, anger, disbelief, and empowerment as I uncover the truth behind the bully.
This series will hit too close to home for many, as I have dealt with bullies in both my childhood and right here in the field of school transportation.
Bully Part 3.
The verbal bully mentioned in my previous blog “School Bus Driver’s Don’t Know (Censored)” is not the only “influencer” to cross unethical lines within the topic of bullying in the school bus industry. What you might not have known about me is that I have given presentations and was also a gatekeeper for leading industry members too.
Being both the presenter and the gatekeeper has opened my eyes to the hypocrisy that flows so regularly throughout the anti-bullying campaigns, companies, and committees during the calendar year. I have attended multiple transportation committee meetings where I have personally been bullied after speaking. One of which, it was observed that the bully didn’t have the power in the room that day, I did.
As a presenter, I looked around the room and there in the last row was the same bully that I have dealt with previously sitting there with arms crossed. The bully passed on the opportunity to take the handout which cited various legal and industry research, which for the courtesy of everyone’s time was left out of the presentation. The bully had an obvious yes-person sitting directly next to them with several empty seats in between the next individuals. (A little school bus humor for you: just like on a school bus, the troublemakers sit in the back.)
As I gave the presentation, I maintained eye-contact and made an observation that the bully talked through the entirety of the presentation. When Q/A time arrived, the bully was the first one to pipe up and state his biased opinion. I use the word biased, because the bully held hands with other companies which conflicted with the presentation. While listening to the prejudice, I noticed that the bully was reciting deliberate highly inaccurate data which was being used to bully the committee in voting favorably for the companies in which the bully held hands.
Related: What Happens to Bullies When They Grow Up? Pt. 1
This bullying tactic was working on the committee. I heard members that gave praises and compliments during the presentation now siding with the bully. I’m an introvert, but somehow I mustered up the courage from deep inside to speak up. When the bully stopped I gave the bully a lesson. I explained that not only did I do the presentation, I also did the research and had it available for all that took it.
Presented to the committee on the handout, I reflected on where the correct data could be found. I explained that one of the pieces of correct data was actually from something the bully had written.
It was amazing not only speaking up on behalf of the prejudices, but then actually proving the point in the bully’s own writing. As one could only imagine, this upset the bully who began to raise his voice louder and louder as the committee members began to laugh and make inaudible snickering comments amongst themselves. It’s disturbing to see the conflict of interest so heavily involved in various transportation committees, and to add fuel to the fire, bullies in those same committees.
I have come across some of these workplace bullies a few times now during my gatekeeper role. What’s even more sickening is that I have viewed some of these transportation tyrants gain not only popularity, but even-handed awards praising them for their efforts against anti-bullying.
Some of which even receive honor year after year. What have we become? I found it pretty ironic that some of these tyrants in the school bus business claiming to be experts don’t know that there is a hierarchy to their position. Instead of continuing your expected role of being submissive to the bully, you can move right along to their superior.
Related: What Happens to Bullies When They Grow Up? Pt. 2
The moral of the story is to have courage. Have courage during your next nomination, and have courage to take anti-bullying campaigns to the next level literally, by approaching the superiors of the tyrants. Courage is not easy, but rallying together we can bring life into anti-bullying campaigns, but only after we reconstruct the foundation that we have created which currently promotes unethical anti-bullying icons.
Anti-bullying starts with understanding the problem of conflicts of interest and bullies in the school bus industry, casting your next vote, and surrounding yourself with more courageous and dignified people.
The truth behind the bully is that they grow up and if not stopped in childhood they continue their ways. The current school transportation system is flawed; as it boasts anti-bullying campaigns left and right and yet bullies exist within the corrupt committees themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time we had a dose of “honest transparency” from someone who has experienced the good ole’ boy system in action.
I have heard complaints of this system, but to experience it is life-changing. I implore all public policy makers to review their voting and nonvoting members in any/all committees eliminating all chances of possible conflicts of interest. The centralized issues that plague this industry lie simply within our code of ethics.
We have allowed unethical, immoral individuals to be awarded and praised in front of their victims year after year. We have allowed the good-ole’-boy system to corrupt our committees for decades. Now, we finally have my written testimony.
I thank each and every one of you that goes beyond my written text and chooses to live a more ethical life. It is with my best intention that I made you aware of one of the largest centralized issues to ever be bestowed upon school transportation.
Now, it’s time we take on this bully together. The foundation has been laid; with your help we can win the war against the bullies in school transportation. Make the difference to become a part of the largest anti-bullying campaign to ever be launched. It starts now!
Editor’s Note: This blog does not reflect the opinions of School Transportation News.
Andrew Gardner combines his experience as a husband and father with the pupil transportation industry along with his previous employment in marketing and sales with a Fortune 500 company. He may be contacted via email.